Kyozon, the 8,500-square-foot pan-Asian restaurant and bar that reportedly cost $2.5 million to build, has folded. The restaurant from Tom Nacos, Christopher Nacos, Steven Elefant, and Marcel Elefant, has been replaced, by the same quartet, with a new outpost of L'Atelier d'Argentine, the Old Montreal steakhouse concept.
A full-court court press from publicists and food bloggers heralded Kyozon's arrival on the scene just under a year ago. The buzz concentrated on the lavish makeover of the Crescent street space, and the restaurant's conveyor/Kaiten belt concept. One blog wrote at the time:
"The inexpensive, vibrant and casual Kaiten way of eating is ingrained in the Japanese culture. Aside from healthy and delicious food, it is the socially engaging dimension that is so compelling and draws in millions of people from across the world," says KYOZON Co-owner Brian Bendix, who lived and operated restaurants and bars in Tokyo in the 1990s when the idea of Kyozon was first conceived.
There were whispers of trouble not long after Kyozon opened, however. Yelp, and other review sites, were largely unkind to the restaurant. Then, more recently, a tipster offered this perspective: "The chef, general manager, and assistant general manager have all resigned at the same time. The chef went back to England without telling anyone. The Tom Nacos Group has also changed names to the Ville Marie Collection (and it sounds like a collection agency). Not sure if it's related." Kyozon's website now redirects to L'Atelier d'Argentine, which made the announcement today with nary a reference to the original restaurant but with assurances of a "very feminine menu."